[Reader-list] The Price of Hate and Pardon:Paulo Coelho

Zulfiqar Shah zulfisindh at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 12 04:17:09 IST 2005

The Price of Hate and Pardon

Paulo Coelho



In my notes for the year 1989 I come across some sentences jotted down from a conversation I had with J, whom I call my “master.” At that time we were talking about an unknown mystic called Kenan Rifai, about whom little has been written.


“Kenan Rifai says that when people praise us we should watch how we behave,” says J, “because that means that we hide our faults very well. Finally we end up believing that we are better than we think and then the next step is to let ourselves be dominated by a false feeling of security that will eventually set up dangers all around us.” 

     “How can we be attentive to the opportunities that life gives us?”
     “If you have only two opportunities, learn how to turn them into twelve. When you have twelve they will multiply automatically. That is why Jesus says: “he who has a lot will have a lot more given. He who has little will have that little taken from him.” 

     “That is one of the harshest sentences in the Gospels. But I have noticed throughout my life that it is absolutely true. So how can we identify the opportunities?”

     “Pay attention to every moment, because the opportunity - the “magic instant” – is within our reach, although we always let it pass by because we feel guilty. So try not to waste your time blaming yourself: the universe will see to correcting you if you’re not worthy of what you’re doing.” 

     “And how is the universe going to correct me?”

     “It won’t be through tragedies; these happen because they are part of 

life, and they should not be thought of as punishment. Generally the universe shows us that we are wrong when it takes away what is most important to us: 


our friends. 

  “Kenan Rifai was a man who helped many people find themselves and to achieve a harmonious relation with life. Even so, some of those people proved to be ungrateful and never even turned their head to say ‘thanks’. They turned to him only when their lives were in a state of utter confusion. Rifai helped them again without mentioning the past: he was a man with many friends and the ungrateful always ended up on their own.”

     “Those are fine words but I don’t know if I am capable of pardoning ingratitude so easily.” 

     “It’s very difficult. But there is no choice: if you don’t pardon, then you’ll think about the pain they caused you and that pain will never go away. I’m not saying that you have to like those who do you wrong. I’m not telling you to go back to that person’s company. I’m not suggesting that you start seeing that person as an angel or as someone who acted without any hurtful intentions. All I am saying is that the energy of hate will take you nowhere, but the energy of pardon which manifests itself through love will manage to change your life in a positive sense.”

     “I have been hurt many times.”

     “That’s the reason that you still bear within yourself the little boy who cried hiding from his parents, the boy who was the weakest in his class. You still bear the marks of that frail little boy who could never find a girlfriend and was never good at sports. You haven’t managed to chase off the scars of some injustices they committed against you during your life. But what good does that do you? None at all. Absolutely nothing. Just a constant desire to feel sorry for yourself for being the victim of those who were stronger. Or else dress up like an avenger ready to inflict more wounds on those who hurt you. Don’t you think you’re wasting your time with all that?”

     “I think it’s human.”

     “It’s certainly human. But it’s neither intelligent nor reasonable. Respect your time on this Earth, understand that God has always pardoned you, and learn to pardon too.”


After this conversation with J, which took place just before I traveled to spend 40 days in the Mojave desert in the United States, I began to understand better the boy, the adolescent, the hurt adult I once was. One morning, going from the Valley of Death in California to Tucson in Arizona, I made a mental list of everyone I thought I hated because they had hurt me. I went along pardoning them one by one and six hours later, in Tucson, my soul felt so light and my life had changed much for the better.


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